Friday, January 23, 2009
Spoilers for tonight's episode (Season 4, Episode 12) after the jump.
Building on last week's momentous philosophical ponderings--in the absence of an external threat, a people will fracture, finding enemies in each other; faced with the a bleak future after years of depending on a fantasy, some will pick themselves up again, and others will turn to nihilism--"A Disquiet Follows My Soul" patiently prepares us for the inevitable insurrection.
Just because most of the principals hit a brick wall last week doesn't mean life came to a halt in the fleet. So we open with one of those day-in-the-life, morning routine montages, which is actually a beautiful setup for our later discovery of Bill's medicine (more on that below).
But while Bill's trying to reassert the status quo--a little too late, judging by the rest of the episode--everyone else is reassessing their priorities (i.e. inciting riot). For Gaeta, this means fomenting anti-cylon violence. Relatedly, even if he had two good legs, Starbuck would destroy Gaeta. ("In case you're wondering, I will definitely hit a cripple." I look forward to that scene.) This is a woman who has been haunted by her mother, her daughter (sorta) and now herself. I don't think little old Gaeta's going to intimidate her.
Zarek's taken his rebellion public too, only his was more legitimate, at least in the beginning. By turning the cylon alliance into a states rights issue, he won public support for his democratic rebellion. Of course, this demonstrates the need for an oversight court--something to check the legislature. But in absence of such an entity, Adama violated democracy once again "for the greater good." Bluff-blackmailing Zarek gave Adama an interesting and appropriately dirty way out of the scenario without quelling the rebellion entirely.
Next week apparently sees the Gaeta-led mutiny, attempted cylon purge, and bullets in CIC. Accordingly, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul" was more of a bridge between the post-Earth fallout and the mutiny proper, so it came off a bit less focused than usual. With writing and performances this good, just checking in on all the characters provides a solid episode--it just wasn't a standout. Then again, it would be impossible to continue the string of one-ups the show has been on.
So let's check in on the characters:
Saul is somehow the most well-adjusted Final Fiver. Which stands to reason, given the man's history of survival and determination, but is all the more astonishing having seen his coping strategies last year of alternately abusing and sleeping with his cylon prisoner. It'd be weird to see ravishing, youthful Number Six doting on old, grizzled Saul if Tricia Helfer weren't so believable. As much as I'm blown away by Michael Hogan, Helfer has been a revelation since the miniseries.
No sign of Tory today, or Anders (apart from the frightening converse of "Collaborators" glimpsed in the previews for next week), but Tyrol sure got a nice spotlight. Finding out he was't Nicky's father was the big surprise of the night. I had my money on Baltar--simply because, who hasn't he banged, though also because she got pregnant on New Caprica while he was a man in power--but Hot Dog was a better choice. If for no other reason than the only thing I remember about his character is that he had an STD a while back. Sure hope that Cylon blood keeps Tyrol clean (and I sure hope that whiny Cally had some constant itching down below), but that reminds me: Tyrol and Hot Dog are going to raise Nicky together? Between this and the Gaeta-Hoshi smooch in the webisodes (sidenote: Hoshi can do better), Ronald D. Moore is sticking by his promise that homosexuality is alive and well in Battlestar.
The other big news with Tyrol came in his first lines of the episode, representing the Base Star. In his podcast, Moore mentioned that they had intended Tyrol to go live on the Base Star following the Earth debacle, but held off on it. Apparently, they're not holding off too long. Moore also confirmed that last week's "Sometimes a Great Notion" was Lucy Lawless' final episode. I'm disappointed that such a significant character seemingly wrote herself out of the grand design (by choosing to live out her days on Earth), but at least we got a few more episodes with Three since her boxing.
Baltar's cult is stronger and more gender-balanced than ever! Hearing his slow, methodical, almost hypnotic (and isn't that the point?) preaching on the radio or intercom always enhances an episode. He's also leading a mutiny, only his is against God. I wonder what Head Six would have to say about this blatant defiance of God's will. Still, I think I like short-haired Gaius better than long-haired Gaius, perhaps because his narcissistic Jesus thing is less overt.
Which brings us to the aforementioned stalled leaders. As much as I enjoyed them last week, their post-jog conversation here was my favorite scene of theirs this year. Edward James Olmos rocked the "We need you" speech, sweetly appealing to her sense of responsibility, and in case you haven't noticed, I rarely compliment Olmos' performance to the degree most do. And then Mary McDonnell countered with a terribly moving, "Maybe, just maybe, I've earned the right to live a little before I die. Haven't I?" These two always make me sympathize with poor decisions. I still think they're clearly neglecting their responsibilities in the biggest crisis the fleet has seen since the Caprica apocalypse, but you can't not feel for them in moments like this.
I would mention their final romantic dalliance, except there's nothing really to say. I'm glad it's happening, but really, people, you've got a society to run. More importantly, Bill is on medicine, and he's not spilling to Roslin or Tigh. The latter even mentions that Bill "looks like hell." Is he the dying leader? And can't the dying leader simply be dying, and not dead, for the prophecy to be true (if it even has to be--there's no reason the show can't go against the prophecy, especially in light of Earth's fate)?
(UPDATE: Mo Ryan's interview with Ronald D. Moore about "A Disquiet Follows My Soul," Moore's directorial debut, confirms that Adama takes pain pills, but "it's not a sign of something deeper." So Adama is not the dying leader, if there is to be one.)
Next week: the revolution begins. I hope for Gaeta's sake he has an escape pod stashed away.